Why Ethan Havard got Wigan Warriors nod ahead of senior trio
Adrian Lam has explained why he preferred teenage prop Ethan Havard ahead of a clutch of senior forwards.
The 19-year-old – who made one appearance last season – is a highly-rated prospect at the Warriors.
But his inclusion for the opening night’s 16-10 win against Warrington caught many by surprise, given he was picked ahead of England international Joe Greenwood, Joe Bullock and off-season recruit Mitch Clark.
Lam said: “Ethan’s only just turned 19 and we’re excited about what the future holds for him.
“I just like his toughness, I love his size.
“In training he’s been aggressive and he’s everything this club represents.
“He got the nod ahead of Mitch Clark and Joe Bullock and it’s a pretty big honour for him.”
Havard was born in Bulgaria to English parents and played his junior rugby league at St Pats.
Lam also had other academy-products Liam Byrne and Morgan Smithies on the bench, while Ollie Partington started at prop.
And they compensated for the loss of George Burgess (hip) and Sam Powell (head) to injury, which has made them both doubtful for Friday’s trip to Castleford.
“We had a young bench against Warrington and they had to play more than their part when George and Sam went down – we were a middle down and then Lockers moved to the halves,” said Lam.
“And I thought they were outstanding, they more than held their own. It’s too soon to tell if George will be okay for next week.
“We were a bit stretched for middles last year but now we’ve strengthened, and we can put Mitch or Joe in there.”
Ben Flower will also be back in the mix soon after recovering from injury.
Meanwhile, Wigan's reserve get their campaign underway at Widnes today (2pm).